New South Wales Rugby CEO Andrew Hore has asked SANZAAR countries to “keep it simple” in regards to the future of Super Rugby.
He urged SANZAAR’s partners to put their fans first and put politics aside for the good of the competition.
“Our first responsibility is to create a wonderful competition that connects our rugby people with the international game,” Hore said. “Don’t waste this opportunity, don’t let it get caught up in higher political issues. Just try to keep it simple, and try to make it the best competition we can.”
Hore met with Lions CEO Rudolf Straeuli in Johannesburg ahead of the Waratahs’ semi-final clash.
Hore said he and Straeuli agreed that Super Rugby needed to embrace its history as a pioneering competition from the early stages of professionalism.
“Fundamentally you’ve got the best rugby competition in the world and the best quality of rugby at the [Rugby] Championship as well,” he said. “So what’s at stake is making sure we maintain our dominance as the best rugby competition there is. From that, the rest will follow.”
Former Springbok coach Straeuli told the Sydney Morning Herald he believed returning to a round-robin had emerged as a popular option moving forward.
“I think everybody is on the same track about round robin, or everyone against everyone, that may [help] the integrity of the competition, if you can say you’ve played everybody,” he said.
“Our challenge is commercially, to look at the numbers in the stadium and at the broadcasting. We’re fortunate to have an iconic stadium but we don’t always fill it. We’ve had good crowds because the team has been winning.
“We’ve got to look at what the people want, they want a simplistic competition that they can figure out.”
Hore agreed a round robin was a potential answer, but said more options need to be considered.
“[Round robin] is one thing but I don’t think we’ve had enough discussions about what are all the options here,” he said. “Let’s make sure it’s not just tweaks, but that’s it’s a real opportunity to change things completely. I just hope we’re going to do that piece of work.”
SANZAAR is set to agree by on a competition format post-2020 by the end of the year.
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